I'm Not 'Too Old' For Crop Tops, Sparkles, Or Anything Else, Thank You Very Much

Katie Bingham-Smith

When I was 21, I bought a comfy navy blue terry cloth robe with matching slippers to put on when I got home from work. I had just graduated college and was thrown into the real world. When I got home from working all the livelong day, I felt like an old lady who needed hours on the sofa to recover.

And I did just that wearing my robe. In fact, there were many nights I had it on by 5 p.m. This baby called to me one day while shopping the discount store for paper towels and cheap candles. It was hanging dangerously close to the Depends, and I remember thinking, I’m probably too young for this but I want it so badly.

So I got it and wore it until it practically disintegrated.

Now as an almost 43-year-old mother of three, I still have a robe a lot like that (because, comfort), but I never gave up the crop tops I wore in my 20s either. You know why? Because I’m not too old and I still love them, that’s why.

I realize many people feel like they can’t wear certain things after a certain age, even if they don’t say it out loud. And we’ve all heard things like, you shouldn’t wear shorts or a mini-skirt after 35. But the truth is, no one can make the rules for you when it comes to what you want to put on your body — if you like it, that’s all you need to go on.

If you ask me, 35 is just when the party is getting started, so wear whatever the hell makes you feel like you. That’s what getting older is about — blossoming into you — and your style choices reflect that.

When I pull on my favorite leopard shorts, there is a part of me that wonders if perhaps the years have come and gone when I should be wearing short, animal print things. But then I remember I make the rules, leopard is my favorite print, and it’s fucking hot outside so these puppies are going to be seen.

There are days I pick up my daughter from the 7th grade and I’m wearing the same kicks and leggings as her friends. When this first started happening, I’d wonder if it was embarrassing her or making her friends rethink their outfit choices.

Then I remembered I just don’t care — I wear what I want and my daughter does the same. I’ve never once heard her say, “Mom, I want to wear that sparkly eyeshadow but when I see you wear it, it makes me hate it.” She actually wants to wear it more because it’s proof that people are allowed to wear what they feel like, no matter who else is doing it (even the older people), and it’s empowering AF.

I usually like the latest fashion and hair trends; they are a form of expressing yourself and nothing makes me happier than when I see a person who isn’t all young and wearing a mini dress, sparkly heels, or sporting blue hair. It says: I like this a whole hell of a lot, so I went out and did what I wanted to do and I don’t care how you see me.

Trends, makeup, shoes, and clothing aren’t relegated to a certain age category by any means. We don’t need to be told, or made to feel we are too old to wear certain things — we do what we want. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than stuffing yourself into something that doesn’t feel like you. And if crop tops and sparkles are your thing, that shouldn’t change just because you’ve turned another year (or decade) older.